Project Baa Baa Launch at Sheep 2018: Farm to Fork

> Sorcha Nic Aodha

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Galway 2020’s ‘Project Baa Baa’ will present the first of its event as a part of Teagasc’s Sheep 2018 Farm to Fork in Athenry this weekend.

Celebrating Europe’s rich sheep and sheep farming culture, Project Baa Baa highlights cultural, economic and environmental contribution of sheep farming in Ireland and across Europe.

The event, which takes place on Saturday 7 July, celebrates the sheep themes of craft, food and agritourism. The themes will be represented by a range of wool crafts, new eco products, sheep cheeses and meats, as well as farm-based businesses including a farm shop. Demonstrations will include sheep shearing, dog sheep trails, lamb breeds and cheese maturing, benefits of wool, spinning wheel making, spinning, Aran knitting, crochet, felting and dyeing wool.

There will be an opportunity to sample over 30 varieties of sheep cheeses, in addition to cured meats. Irish cheese will be presented by Cáis na Tíre, Rockfield Velvet Cloud, Cratloe Hills and Cashel Blue. Maturing European Cheeses from Ireland, England, Italy, Spain, Portugal, France and Corsica will be on display by Sheridan’s, Galway.

McGeough’s Meats – Connemara Fine Foods will present on curing and smoking meats, while Farmer Sharp and Achill Mountain Lamb will also be doing demonstrations.

The Irish Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers (IGWSD) will demonstrate the spinning raw wool after shearing, wool washing, sorting, blending, dyeing and weaving, as well as different finishing methods. There will also be a demonstration from IGWSD’s Grace O’Neill, also known as ‘Babbles Travelling Yarn’ blogger.

Eddie Doherty, a well-known hand weaver based in Ardara, County Donegal, will demonstrate hand weaving on his own loom. Eddie produces a wide range of traditional handcrafted products from tweed using 100% Irish wool.

Sheep shearing, meat cutting and sheepdog training demos will also make up a part of the event.

With education being a large aspect of the project, the event will host a ‘Kids Space’ centred on interactive wool and sheep-based activities for families and kids. A fun element for the day is the launch of the Primary Schools SHEEP Project and the Project Baa Baa and Teagasc Colouring Competition. Children can draw on a sheep mural or try a colouring competition with parents or map their location in Ireland to Galway on the Wool Map puzzle. There will be a sheep facts area, with information on animal life cycle, wool and fleece, meat, cheese and milk, nutrition and environment.

The aim of Project Baa Baa is to develop a lasting legacy and to encourage the maintenance and development of sheep-related businesses throughout Europe. In the lead up to and throughout 2020, Project Baa Baa, which is led by Seamus Sheridan, Deborah Evers and Emilia Furey, will be hosting a major sheep congress, as well as events, exhibitions, banquets and films as part of the overall programme for 2020.

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